Those who know college football are expecting a lot of a certain Nevada running back this fall. 

That running back is Lompoc High grad Toa Taua.

The former Brave has been racking up preseason accolades as he enters his sophomore season.

Taua has been named to the watch lists for a number prestigious college football awards.

Last month, the Wolf Pack running back was first named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award. That honor is given annually to the nation's college football player of the year. 

But the honors didn't stop there. 

Taua was also named to the Doak Walker Award watch list a few days later. That award is given to the nation's top running back. Earlier this month, Taua was named to the Polynesian Player of the Year Award watch list, along with teammate Gabe Sewell, who's a senior. 

Taua was then named to the preseason Mountain West All-Conference Team. 

This is Taua's first time being selected to the watch list for either of those awards.

As the season begins and moves along, semifinalists, finalists and, eventually, winners will be announced. 

Taua has a new weapon in his arsenal that will help him in his pursuit of these honors: His brother Vai Taua.

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The elder Taua, a Cabrillo High grad who also starred as a Nevada running back alongside of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is in his first season as Nevada's running backs coach. 

"It's like how it's been since I was a little kid," Taua told Nevada Sports Network last week of working with his older brother Vai. "He's always been a coach figure to me. Always coaching me, no matter what it is — whether it's on the field or off the field. He's always been a great coach to me.

"I feel really comfortable with him right there. Being able to depend on him to help me better my game and help me learn the game better. It's a great feeling having him there." 

Taua has wasted no time living up to expectations at Nevada. He was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year as a true freshman last fall. He led the Wolf Pack with 872 yards rushing. He also had six touchdowns, which was second on the team. He averaged 5.23 yards per carry during the regular season, fifth-best in the Mountain West among all runners.

Among all freshmen in the nation, his 872 rushing yards ranked 10th. The former Brave posted three 100-yard rushing games last year and his best performance came against Toledo, where he had 170 yards on 15 carries.

The 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker award will be named in November and three finalists will be announced on Nov. 20.

The award's committee will cast a second vote beginning Dec. 2 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of past recipients, former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.

The recipient of the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards will be announced live Thursday, Dec. 12 with an ESPN broadcast. The winner of the Polynesian Player of the Year Award will be announced on Dec. 17 and will then be honored at halftime of the Polynesian Bowl on Jan. 18 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii. 

At Lompoc High, Taua rushed for 4,612 yards 501 carries with 73 touchdowns. In his final season with the Braves, Taua had 1,673 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also played defense at Lompoc High and was recruited by Iowa State, Cal, Utah State and San Diego State, but chose to play running back for Nevada, following in his older brother's footsteps.

Nevada starts the season Friday, Aug. 30 with a home game against Purdue, a member of the Big 10 Conference. The Wolf Pack then plays at Oregon on Sept. 7.

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